It is that moment when you are ready to buy a home and the excitement yet nervousness sets in with all the details required to get your dream home. It doesn’t matter if this is your first home or you are ready for that move-up home, the task ahead of you is daunting to say the least. Where do you begin? What can you afford? Who do you call? Buying a home has been called the most important purchase in one’s lifetime. I suggest having a plan in place and following that plan to the letter. Remember that without a plan, you can plan to fail.
The vast majority of buyers start on-line, where you are right now, but not only that buyers want to take the next emotional step of seeing the inside of the homes. You are compelled to visit open houses, new construction sites, calling that random agent who just listed a home in your favorite subdivision. The question that most buyers do not think to ask themselves is, should this be my first step in this process? My answer is a resounding no and in most cases it causes way more problems than it solves. It can add many layers of stress and confusion to an already stressful process. Consider this quick story.
For Example: A first-time buyer couple visits an open house after searching the internet for two weeks. The couple loves the home and wants to buy it. What to do, well for starters they have not even established any representation. In some cases, they will be stuck using the agent who was hosting the open house, who they do not know! The agent said she does not represent the seller and is just hosting the open house for the listing agent. Are they pre-approved for a mortgage yet, nope! They never took that step and worse yet now there is an offer on the table. They really love the home, so they have to rush and get pre-approved. They quickly find a mortgage lender on the internet who “approves” them. Now the agent is not returning their calls because she does this part time and is working her full time job. She finally returns their call, but now there are two additional offers, but she still submits their offer. Unfortunately they lose the home due to the agent drafting the contract incorrectly plus the seller does not want to take their offer with only a pre-qualification letter. The buyers did not realize the mortgage lender that they chose was known not to be reputable and did not do a good job qualifying them.
Unfortunately situations like this are not uncommon and can create negative experiences with real estate agents and the process of buying a home in general. What is the moral of the story? It is simple. Jumping into home buying without having a plan is not the way to go and can cause added time, expense and frustration. There is a proper order to this process and having a professional represent you makes all the difference. If you think all real estate agents do is open the door and show you the kitchen, we need to talk. Knowing that not all real estate agents are the same is a good starting point. It takes much more than that to be considered an expert in this profession. Having the skills to truly understand the value of homes. For example looking for economic obsolescence, giving an explanation of progression and regression, doing a Comparative Market Analysis (CMA) for your buyer and the list goes on and on. The true value of a real estate professional should be understood. All these kinds of pit falls can be easily avoided. The two most important steps in this process are choosing a REALTOR® for representation and choosing a mortgage lender to get pre-approved for a loan. The REALTOR® and lender should be consulted first prior to looking at any homes. They also can make or break your transaction, so choosing them wisely is of the utmost importance. Generally meeting with the REALTOR® first has a better outcome. They can provide guidance to the many differences with mortgage lenders.
We aim to eliminate these type of experiences and instead focus on equipping buyers with knowledge of the process, establishing goals and timeframes, and certainly having financing understood and in place before looking at their first home. I make it a point for any buyer that is ready to start the process to schedule a buyer consultation meeting with me to get educated on the process and myself, even if this isn’t their first home purchase.
I have dedicated my career to serving the needs of my clients. In doing so, I pursed various aspects of learning to enhance my skills for all the different buyer experiences that exist. Earning designations like the Certified Residential Specialist (CRS) and the Accredited Buyers Representative (ABR) have helped me along my career to serve my clients at the highest level of skill and professionalism. I encourage you to review my education to see all the earned designations and certifications and what they could mean to you as a buyer.